Blogs > Cliopatria > Military History Digest #154

Apr 1, 2011 1:41 pm

Military History Digest #154


19th Century

1. The Sable Arm: Carnage at Fort Gilmer by n/a

"While most of what I write about on this blog (and in my forthcoming book) deals with the fighting that took place at New Market Heights during the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, there is another encounter involving USCTs that took place on the same day that merits examination – the Battle of Fort Gilmer."

2. What’s a Soldier? Who’s a Soldier? by Brooks D. Simpson

"One of the flash points in the ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) debate over “black Confederates” is the definition of a “soldier.” I’m not quite sure why that is. A soldier in the Civil War enlisted or was conscripted to service … Continue reading ..."

3. Confederate Capitulation … February 1865 by Brooks D. Simpson

"Historians tend to prefer to examine how wars start rather than how they end, and historians of the American Civil War tend to focus on the decisions made by President Abraham Lincoln while slighting those made by his Confederate counterpart, … Continue reading ..."

4. Marching Through Georgia by Brooks D. Simpson

"One of the more interesting “what-ifs” of the Civil War involves the notion that Georgia governor Joseph E. Brown and William T. Sherman might have been able to work out an agreement that would have meant an entirely different march … Continue reading ..."

5. The Confederacy and State Rights by Brooks D. Simpson

"One of the arguments one always hears is that the southern states seceded to protect state rights … sometimes as a way to counter claims that white southerners seceded to protect slavery. Anyone familiar with American history knows that white … Continue reading ..."

6. Slavery, Emancipation, and the Sesquicentennial by Brooks D. Simpson

"Several weeks ago in Fredericksburg Remembered John Hennessy offered a thoughtful post on the experience of leading a tour of slavery-related sites in Fredericksburg to a group of people, the majority of whom were African American. The topic, which John … Continue reading ..."

7. Colonization/Relocation/Resettlement by Brooks D. Simpson

"Not too long ago we had a rather lively exchange in the comments section in which a commenter saw much in common between Lincoln’s plans for colonization, Grant’s plans for annexation, and a series of proposals to relocate African Americans … Continue reading ..."

8. The Lessons of the Elections of 1866 and 1867 by Brooks D. Simpson

"Recently I discussed how speaking about “the North” during the Civil War era without distinguishing between Republicans and Democrats offers a distorted view of that period, especially when it comes to matters of race. Democrats were far more unified when … Continue reading ..."

9. Improved 32-Pdr Guns – Models of 1840 and 1845 by Craig Swain

"After the long production run of the 32-pdr Model 1829, the Army turned to simplified and improved designs. In parallel to 42-pdr seacoast gun developments, two experimental “new model” guns appeared in 1839. Columbia and West Point foundries cast one … Continue reading ..."

10. 8-Inch Seacoast Howitzer by Craig Swain

"Turning from the “guns” that served both sides at Fort Sumter in 1861, another type of weapon in the batteries was the seacoast howitzer. As mentioned in an earlier post tracing the history of columbiads, the seacoast howitzer filled a … Continue reading ..."

11. Understanding War Through Imagery – Usahec Civil War Conference by Craig Swain

"From the US Army Heritage and Education Center web site: In conjunction with the Civil War sesquicentennial, The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center & Army Heritage Center Foundation presents their Civil War Photographic Conference, Understanding War through Imagery: The … Continue reading ..."

12. Dinwiddie Makes Demands Concerning Slavery by Donald R. Shaffer

"Spring 1861 was a horrible time for the Upper South, as the slave states there had to decide whether to cast their lot with the Lower South in the new Confederacy or with the Union many there still held dear. This situation was no more true than in Virginia, which was not only as Ira Berlin would put it a “society with slaves,” but also with a history deeply invested in the creation of the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and many other important founding fathers hailed from the state, and, of course, four of the first five U.S. Presidents..."

13. How the Civil War Changed Opinion on Emancipation by Donald R. Shaffer

"Wednesday’s Disunion in the New York Times has an interesting piece by Daniel W. Crofts on Charles Francis Adams, son of John Quincy Adams, grandson of John Adams, and during the Civil War period, U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. The piece is rather instructive, in a microhistory sense, of how the war helped shift the opinion of men, who before the conflict were willing to appease the South by providing firm guarantees to preserve slavery, toward supporting freedom for the slaves. Crofts writes: Adams represented a particular type of Unionist: like his father and grandfather, he believed that human nature..."

14. “When You Eliminate the Black Confederate…” by Kevin Levin

"It’s one of those quotes that sticks out like a sore thumb on many black Confederate websites: “When you eliminate the black Confederate soldier, you’ve eliminated the history of the South.” The only problem is that if you search for this quote Online you run into any number of problems not the least of which [...]..."

15. George Rable on “the Civil War as a Political Crisis” by Kevin Levin

"Few Civil War historians have been more prolific over as large a segment of the historical landscape than George Rable of the University of Alabama. I’ve read most of his books and I always find that my understanding of the period deepens as a result. Rable is one of those historians that makes you smarter [...]..."

16. Declaring Victory by Kevin Levin

"This past weekend I took part in a conference on the Civil War and public history at North Carolina State University. I heard a number of interesting presentations and I will likely comment on them over the next few weeks, but for now I want to say a few quick words about one specific point [...]..."

17. George Dewey: Admiral and Civil War Sailor by (Matthew T. Eng)

"On this date in 1903 (24 March 1903), George Dewey (1837-1917) was commissioned as an Admiral of the Navy with the date of rank 2 March 1899. He was the only person to ever hold that distinction. Dewey himself, best known for his actions during the Spanish American War, began his service in the United States Navy during the antebellum period of American history. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1858, Dewey was sent to the USS Saratoga and later the Wabash as a Midshipman. During the American Civil War, Dewey was promoted to Lieutenant just..."

18. Giambrone: &Quot;an Illustrated Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign &Amp; National Military Park&Quot; by (Drew@CWBA)


19. The Story of the Dupont Circle Fountain by (Sarah A. Adler)

"Rear Admiral Samuel Francis DuPont is, of course, one of the most famous naval figures of the Civil War, so it makes sense that the fountain located in DuPont Circle and dedicated to his memory is one of the most famous landmarks in Washington, DC. This fountain, however, was not the first tribute to DuPont that stood in the park.In 1882, Congress approved a monument to DuPont. The monument would be paid for by the DuPont family, and it was to be placed in what was then called Pacific Circle. Sculptor Launt Thompson took on the task of creating the..."

20. Arthur Watkins by Steve Soper

"Arthur Watkins was born on February 22, 1841, in Jordan, Onondaga County, New York, the son of Dennis (b. 1804) and Eliza (Birney, d. 1846).Maryland native Dennis married Eliza, possibly in New York where they resided for some years. (In 1840 Dennis was probably living in Elbridge, Onondaga County, New York.) After Eliza died Dennis remarried New York native Adelia (b. 1816), probably in New York. In any case Dennis moved his family to Michigan, eventually settling in Bennington, Shiawassee County by 1850 when he was working a farm and Arthur and his siblings were attending school. By 1860..."

21. Stiles a. Watkins by Steve Soper

"Stiles A. Watkins was born on January 15, 1843, in Pomfret, Windsor County, Vermont, the son of Ransel (b. 12812) and Hannah (Hunt, b. 1816). Vermont-native Ransel married Connecticut-born Hannah and they eventually settled in Vermont, although according to government records Silas’ parents were both born in Vermont and presumably married there.In any case, Silas left Vermont, probably with his family and moved west, eventually settling in Michigan.In 1850 there was one Lyman Watkins (b. 1818 in New York or Vermont) working as a carpenter with some $1000 worth of real estate and living with his wife..."

22. George Weatherwax by Steve Soper

"George Weatherwax was born on December 3, 1822, in Peru, Clinton County, New York, son of Jacob M. (1792-1861) and Annie (Ketchum, 1793-1861).New York native Jacob (he was born in Peru, New York) married New York native Annie sometime before 1822, and lived in Peru for some years; they were living there in 1833 when their son Henry was born. Sometime that year, however, Jacob moved the family to Orleans County, New York and in 1837 ir 1838 the family moved to Adrian, Hillsdale County. 1845 they were living in Scipio, Hillsdale County. They were still living..."

23. Judge Rejects Google Books Settlement by The General

"Those of you who are long-time readers of this blog know that I have been vehemently opposed to that portion of the Google Book Search project that involves the scanning of copyrighted works without the permission of the author, and then making those books available on-line in some fashion without paying royalties to the authors for the privilege. I came out against this program from the very start, and I enthusiastically supported the class action copyright infringement lawsuit filed against Google Book Search by the Authors Guild. I then became horribly disillusioned when I learned that the Guild..."

24. More Threats to the Brandy Station Battlefield by The General

"There is presently a pending proposal by VDOT to widen Route 3 through the Stevensburg portion of the Brandy Station battlefield. If the original proposal is approved, that core sector of the battlefield will be largely obliterated. The reasons why this is not acceptable ought to be obvious. The Brandy Station Foundation objected, and fortunately, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources sided with the BSF. From today’s edition of the Culpeper Star-Exponent: DHR disputes VDOT’s Route 3 findings By NATE DELESLINE Published: March 25, 2011 On Thursday, another front emerged in the battle to widen Route 3 in the..."

25. Report of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry on the Battle of Brandy Station by The General

"Jim Lamason went to the New Jersey State Archives for me to look for information on the role of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry’s role in the fighting on Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field at Gettysburg for the new edition of Protecting the Flank: The Battles for Brinkerhoff’s Ridge and East Cavalry Field, Battle of Gettysburg, July 2-3, 1863 being published by Savas Beatie later this spring. Unfortunately, Jim didn’t find anything useful there, but he did locate a report of the June 9, 1863 Battle of Brandy Station penned by Maj. Hugh Janeway, in temporary command of..."

World War I

1. Quote of the Day by George Simmers

"“Were you in the First World War, Jeeves?” I dabbled in it to a certain extent, m’lord.” P.G.Wodehouse, Ring for Jeeves (1953)...."

World War II

1. Are You Thinking What We’re Thinking? by Brett Holman

"Thanks to JDK for forwarding this interesting image. It's the front cover of Bomber Command: The Air Ministry's Account of Bomber Command's Offensive against the Axis, September, 1939-July, 1941 (London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1941) (written by Hilary Saunders). So it was part of the same series of propaganda pamphlets as the more famous The Battle of Britain, aimed at informing the British public about how the air war was being waged. Why is it interesting? It shows a British bomber (a Whitley, it looks like) high over a German city, looking down. The raid is evidently just beginning..."

2. Happy Birthday, Raaf by Brett Holman

"The Royal Australian Air Force turns 90 today. It was officially formed as an independent service out of the old Australian Flying Corps on 31 March 1921 (making it three years less one day younger than the Royal Air Force). At first it was just the Australian Air Force: it didn't get the Royal prefix until August, thus becoming the familiar RAAF (usually pronounced 'raff'). Why did Australia plump for an independent air arm? It went very early for this: of the other Dominions, still largely dependent on Britain for defence, Canada waited until 1924, New Zealand until 1934 and..."

3. Tobruk Diaries: Evacuating Benghazi by Carlie Walker

"Bryant’s Diary: Friday 28th March 1941 We took up our position and we caught a couple of donkeys to carry most of our heavy gear up. It is definitely impossible to dig in so we just cut out the middle of bushes to sleep in. We do our own cooking and there are plenty of [...] ..."

4. German Light Cruiser Karlsruhe by Charles McCain

"I have written about the German light cruisers previously including the Karlsruhe. The Karlsruhe was the second of the three 'K' class light cruisers built. The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920's and had to adhere to the strict limit's imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in the role they were intended to. The Karlsruhe took part in a few world tours..."

5. Pre-World War One Navy Recruiting Posters by Charles McCain

"A constant theme throughout the history of the United States is the need for manpower for the armed services. To this end, there have always been recruiting efforts and the most simple and straight forward of these has been the poster. No matter which era they are from, they repeat a common message - do your duty and serve your country because only through your help can we win. Over the next few weeks, I will be providing some examples of these recruiting posters as they pertain to the Navy. The following posters are from Pre-World War One after the..."

6. German Type 212A U-Boat by Charles McCain

"Here are a few videos of the Type 212A in action. The first was pointed out to me by a reader. The second shows the U-34 arriving home after a four month tour. The third and final video is from the German Navy itself and shows U-31. I note that the crew includes one woman. Women will soon begin serving aboard US Navy submarines as well. ..."

7. Berlin Embassy by William RUSSell by Charles McCain

" Berlin Embassy by William Russell (Three Stars) I like this book. Part of the reason is the detail on everyday life in Berlin during the years 1939, 1940, and 1941. When I was researching my first novel, An Honorable German, I read this book on Berlin, among many others, because several of my chapters take place in the city. Another reason I like the book is that William Russell was a young guy who had been in Germany studying German. He had very little money and sometimes only ate one meal a day. Finally he got taken on as..."

8. Germans Launch the First Cruise Missile by Charles McCain

"Nazi Germany invented the prototypes of most modern weapons and equipment in use today including night vision goggles, the assault rifle, swept-wing jet aircraft, the ballistic missile, and the cruise missile. When one reads modern criticism of Allied war efforts against Nazi Germany as being too extreme and going too far such as the bombing of Dresden et al, it is worth remembering how dangerous the Germans were. Hitler kept promising German soldiers and civilians that"miracle weapons" would soon be deployed and turn the war around. The V-1 was the first of these weapons and it was..."

9. German Light Cruiser Karlsruhe by Charles McCain

"I have written about the German light cruisers previously including the Karlsruhe. The Karlsruhe was the second of the three 'K' class light cruisers built. The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920's and had to adhere to the strict limit's imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in the role they were intended to. The Karlsruhe took part in a few world tours..."

10. Colonel Baron Takeichi Nishi by Steven Terjeson

"Colonel Baron Takeichi Nishi - (July 12, 1902 – March 22 1945) was a Japanese Imperial Army officer, equestrian show jumper, and Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. He was a tank unit commander at the Battle of Iwo Jima and was killed in action during the defense of the island. Nishi was born in the Azabu district of Tokyo. He was the illegitimate third son of Tokujirō Nishi, a danshaku (baron under the kazoku peerage system). His mother was not married to Tokujirō and was forced to leave the house soon after giving birth. His father had various..."

11. Profile 46 - More of Satan's Chille'n (Update) by (JSM)

"My call for help in capturing the half-naked pinup girl painted on Satan's Chille'n was as expected - so, thank you to those who helped with the research. (ha ha). But suffice it to state, until we have a Time Machine, I'm confident enough that this B-17's nose art is going to be accurate. Shown is my progress as of 10:32pm this evening.I'm now giving the countdown for about 2 weeks. One more progress post after this and I hope to have it finished! Did you watch the video of Dick - Satan's Chille'n's bombardier - describe a particularly..."

Cold War

1. Diary Entry 49: Saigon, Friday Night, 27 August 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Friday Night, 27 August 1965Well, I’m not sure at all of everything that has happened in the last 3 days but I am sure that never have so many panic buttons been pushed in such a short period of time! Am not even sure of the details anymore as so many things happened. Tuesday and Wednesday were 20-hour days. Yesterday was all right as I got home about 9 p.m. but was so physically and mentally exhausted that I just wanted to go to sleep. Started to get out of bed and write, but decided overall it would..."

2. Diary Entry 50: Saigon, Monday Night, 30 August 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Monday Night, 30 August 1965Still have daily flaps so I guess that is just a fact of life to live with until things settle down to normal. They can’t keep on going like this indefinitely, and I see some healthy indications of change in the right direction. Saturday was a bad day at Black Rock. Seems like I hustled around to all sorts of meetings, or briefings, or conferences most of the day. Then Saturday night lightning struck about like it did Friday on that report I wrote about in the last entry [Joint Chiefs of Staff report on..."

3. Diary Entry 52: Saigon, Wednesday Night, 1 September 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Wednesday Night, 1 September 1965Although I am up late (it is 11 p.m.) tonight, can’t blame it on work this time. After having some supper at the Hong Kong BOQ, decided I’d go visiting for a while. So came back here and changed clothes and went over to Grady [Cole]’s place just down the street [the Vinh Loi BOQ]. He was cooking his supper when I got there, as usual some sort of Mexican food, enchiladas I believe. So had an extra helping of supper and some pleasant conversation until just a few minutes ago. Had to be..."

4. Diary Entry 53: Saigon, Friday Night, 3 September 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Friday Night, 3 September 1965Don’t know whether this has been a good or bad day, probably some of both. It has at least been interesting and sometimes fun. One thing I can say about my work is that it’s never dull! Lee Surut called to say he was on the way back to Okinawa to ship Trudy and the kids back to the States. They will live in Aspen, Colorado, near her parents. I invited him to stop by and spend a night with me when he comes back. I hope he will. When I came in from work..."

5. Diary Entry 54: Saigon, Saturday Night, 4 September 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Saturday Night, 4 September 1965[Major] Harry the Hoss [Brockman] is packing up his things tonight so he’ll be ready to leave tomorrow to go up-country to Nhatrang. He has to close up his business with Special Forces which has headquarters there and he’ll sign out and be back here next weekend and go home on Tuesday. I sure envy him going home. Harry went shopping today and I believe he spent all of his money as I had to treat him to dinner. He kinda bought up Saigon to take souvenirs to everyone. Had planned to go..."

6. Diary Entry 55: Saigon, Sunday Night, 5 September 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Sunday Night, 5 September 1965Am not in a very good mood tonight, so perhaps shouldn’t be writing tonight. But since I’m going up-country tomorrow for a look at what is going on at a couple of places, thought I’d better write anyway.The reason I’m mad is because of continuation of problems from yesterday. I should not say so, but I really do not like my work as there are a lot of instances of namby-pamby, covering up of inefficiency, and service politics which I have to endure. My boss is poorly qualified in transportation and through his..."

7. Diary Entry 56: Saigon, Thursday Night, 9 September 1965 by (J.R. Clark)

"Saigon Thursday Night, 9 September 1965Yesterday Harry the Horse came by and had dinner with me at the Rex where we ran into Colonel Umpleby, the Chief Western Transportation Officer from CINCPAC. He reiterated his offer of an assignment at Tachikawa [AFB, Japan] after this tour, so I just told him I wasn’t interested. After dinner Harry and I sat out on the roof and listened to the band play and talked over old times. Sure will miss him when he goes back. Am going to take a run down the Saigon River tomorrow to look over some problem areas..."


1. Pentagon Spends Billions to Fight Roadside Bombs, With Little Success | Mcclatchy by n/a



1. “Invincible” Climate Prediction | Isgtw by n/a


2. A Legend Turns 100 by UltimaRatioReg

"Imagine if you will, a formation of American soldiers chasing Pancho Villa into Mexico in 1916, or moving forward toward the enemy in France in 1918, carrying .69 caliber flintlock muskets or Simeon .54 caliber flintlock pistols. Or tomorrow over the skies of Helmand Province, a Bleriot monoplane chugging its way across the sky, barely making headway in a 30-knot wind. Or armored cruiser USS Olympia, dwarfed by even the smallest frigates, chugging black clouds of coal smoke as she tried to keep up with the Midway (CV-41) Carrier Battle Group as it makes its way to Desert..."

3. The Bicycle in Warfare by Ally Roche

"The bicycle is a machine that we can all relate to, it’s a common denominator. Be that early childhood memories of the first ride down that steep hill, the freedom to go distances that would be problematic on foot or that flat tyre at the most inconvenient time. Today, bike technology has changed dramatically from [...] ..."

4. The Longue durée of Libya’s History, and Its Effects Today by David Ucko

"Johan Galtung was on Al Jazeera yesterday talking a lot of sense about the Western intervention in Libya. Much of what he said flowed naturally from his status as something of a peace activist (and often outspoken critic of the United States) and might therefore be dismissed as idealistic or tendentious. Yet one should not sweep aside some of the truly important points he made on the topic of legitimacy and history, relevant not only here and now in Libya but in future Western interventions around the world. In particular, Galtung stressed the need to consider the psychological effects of..."

5. Observation Island (Eag-154) and the Polaris Fleet Ballistic Missile Program by NHHC

"On 29 March, 1960, OBSERVATION ISLAND launched the first fully-guided Polaris Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM). During July, she gathered optical and electronic data and served as a communications relay ship in support of the first successful launch of a Polaris FBM from a submerged vessel by the fleet ballistic missile submarine GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN-598) on [...]..."

6. The Insular Force: Adapting to Local Conditions by NHHC

"During the Philippine Insurrection, the U.S. Navy employed dozens of gunboats in “brown water” operations in and around the Philippine archipelago. The boats conducted maritime patrols, inspected coastal shipping, delivered mail and supplies to Army garrisons and assisted local government officials in bringing the rule of law to the provinces. Beginning quite early, gunboat commanders [...]..."

7. Update (Yes, Another One …) on Thomas Lowry vs. the Nara by Brooks D. Simpson

"Over at TOCWOC, Brett Schulte has posted on information relayed to him by Dr. Thomas Lowry regarding the Lincoln Pardon Controversy (for those of you who want to track the pogress of the controversy, you can do so through clicking … Continue reading ..."

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